Thanksgiving Week Edu-Reads

Allison Crean-Davis interviews Diana Cournoyer, the Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association.

Bellwether was part of a group to win the contract for a National Comprehensive Center, with Westat (the lead grantee), RMC Research, and Academic Development. Read more about that work here.

Bellwether also has a new publication out via Pathway 2 Tomorrow highlighting our work on postsecondary access and success. Because higher education is primarily a regional issue, particularly for underserved students, there is a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from both the K-12 and postsecondary sides to amplify successes and address common challenges.

I’m behind in my reading, but this David Steiner piece on why rigorous curriculum stays on the shelf is worth your time. It’s hard to do it justice with just one quote, but this was my favorite passage:

…in the United States we have built a system that not only fails to support the sustained use of demanding curriculum—but actively produces powerful disincentives to its use. In what school of education are teachers prepared to teach powerful and demanding works of literature to students who are two or three grade levels below the level required to make real sense of those texts? (I know of none, but would like to be mistaken.) Is there a high-quality ELA curriculum that includes materials for teachers whose students are below grade level? In how many districts are principal evaluation tools supplemented by curriculum-specific rubrics? Beyond the quizzes and curriculum-embedded assessments, how many standalone interim assessments actually measure students’ knowledge of what their curriculum asks them to read? How many summative assessments do the same?

Doug Lemov has a good story about when hands-on learning works, and when it doesn’t.

Is Missouri’s teacher pension plan “good?” That depends on who’s asking the question.

Mike Antonucci contrasts two surveys, one suggesting that 9/10 teachers are planning to leave the profession immediately… and the other suggesting they’re planning to stay until retirement. Which is it? Rather than trying to parse out these survey responses, shouldn’t we just look at revealed preferences instead?

A reminder from Chalkbeat that “public” schools often screen their students: “To get into Columbia Secondary for sixth grade, the school considers state test scores, and students must take a school-created test, have good attendance records, and live or attend elementary school in the surrounding neighborhoods. (Across the city, about a quarter of middle schools similarly set their own competitive entrance criteria.)”

Speaking of charters, kudos to Erica Green and Eliza Shapiro for digging into the racial politics around charters and Democrats. I also appreciated that the authors mostly quoted parents and school leaders and stayed away from pontificating pundits. But, wow, this talking point from Elizabeth Warren’s team is totally off:

In addition to following the same state and federal accountability laws that every other school follows, charters also must compete for students, provide their own facilities, and face the risk of being shut down for poor performance. Do traditional public schools really want to compete on those terms?

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman

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